Friday, 23 May 2014

Astra Militarum Character Series: FW Thunderbolt Pilot

A few spare hours today and I managed to finish painting a model that I've had on my painting desk for several months - an Imperial Guard Thunderbolt Pilot. 

This was a limited edition figure release by Forgeworld several years ago. I acquired it via a friend of mine, who was selling two of them. I painted one up for an Elysian project a did a couple of years ago, and saved the other for myself. 

This is a very nicely detailed miniature, as you'd expect from a limited edition FW piece. The resin is crisp and the detail sufficiently deep to take washes and highlight. 

I'm planning on using him as an Officer of the Fleet in my Savlar Chem Dogs army, or perhaps as an objective marker - the idea of a downed fighter pilot requesting immediate evac from enemy-held territory would make a great narrative...

Monday, 19 May 2014

Tyranids: First Genestealer Brood

Continuing with the Tyranid commission, today I finished the first 8 genestealers.

For older models, these miniatures come with lots of parts and a great variety of extra bits. My client wanted to use several different heads, and the kit comes with absolutely loads of these.

Some favourites - a class stealer launching a deadly attack...

A Ymgarl genestealer, in a scuttling pose...

And my favourite of all: a stealer with a weird snapping tongue (reminds me of Alien), no eyes and reinforced skull plating...

Another 8 of these models left to do, currently in the building stage, but probably a few of my own Astra Militarum models first.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Tyranids: Finished Hive Crone

This Hive Crone is part of a larger commission I'm currently doing.

This was the first Hive Crone/Harpy kit I've built and painted, as my own Behemoth army doesn't have any flying monstrous creatures. Overall, it is a nice kit. I was surprised by the size of the model - the Crone is pretty enormous (even competing with the Imperial Knight on my painting desk).

This is another dual kit, so as ever you're left with several leftover bits such as bio-cannons etc.

The spread ints give lots of opportunity for extra detail work - in keeping with my client's existing army (which I painted last year), these were painted with dulled flesh tones. I added speckling to the wings, and went a little further with Rhinox Brown patterning.

This must be why the Crone has that Vector Strike extra rule...

The carapace was patterned in the same way as the rest of the army, but as I had extra space I went with something a little more exotic.

I like that the current larger monstrous creatures have chips and scuffs sculpted onto the carapace plating. I picked these out contrary to the patterning, for emphasis.

My client also purchased some aliens-style eggs, part of a terrain kit, and these were glued to the base.

These shots show the underside of the model. Initially, I was going to paint the bio-sacs in flesh tones as well, but part way through the model I decided against this. There is so much flesh on the wings, I think more of those tones would've overwhelmed the model. So, instead I used a variety of washes - sadly, these photos don't really demonstrate the colours very well!

Finally, when I said that the model was finished I was being a little "liberal!" I've painted but not mounted the four tentaclid parts. These are supposed to attack enemy flyers and have a haywire type rule, so I painted them with Nihilakh Oxide, perhaps demonstrating some internal bio-source or power. This is one of my favourite technical paints from the Citadel range, and has lots of uses outside of painting oxidised metals.

The tentaclids will be mounted to the wings with magnets, but I need to order them.

Hopefully, early next week I will be able to photograph some gene stealers I'm also finishing up for this army.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Militarum Tempestus Scions: The New Stormtroopers

In today’s post I’m going to review and showcase the new Militarum Tempestus Scions boxed set from GW.

This new boxed set, priced at £21, contains parts to assemble 5 Scions or 5 Scions Command models.

First impression: it’s a two sprue box, with tons of parts. More than any set I’ve seen in recent times… I really think GW should have split this into two sets, to reduce the cost of the box. I’m using my Scions in a standard IG army, and so I will probably have no use for the Command bits (I know, I could use them in a platoon, but I just don’t see that happening in games of less than 2500 points). So, the reality is that you’ll end up with a pile of unused parts – some useful for conversions (like the Tempestor Command greatcoat), others pretty much useless (like multiple hot-shot lasguns).

You won’t be surprised to hear that the set also includes a single special weapon of each type! That’s very infuriating, as a 5-man Scions squad can have two special weapons. I plan on running a double volley gun squad, but you can’t do this out of the box. I’d much rather that some of the extra bits had been replaced with double special weapons!

The models themselves have very precise, sharp detail. I really like the look of the Scions’ armour and weapons, and even the GW colour scheme (on which my paintjob was based). The general design really takes the “stormtrooper” or special operations stereotype and 40k-ifies it.

Some parts are quite fragile, so be careful during assembly: the backpack aerial broke on one of my figures, and I glued it back into place. Also take care with the sergeant’s helmet spike.

This set is definitely not the fabled “veterans in carapace” plastic sprue we’ve all heard about (but only a friend of a friend has ever seen). The general model design seems to have been a “ground-up” restructure: whereas Cadians and Catachans have a flat joint between waist and torso, the Scions have a rounded ball joint. This means that (without further conversion work) you can’t use the Scions’ torso on Cadian legs, or the other way around. That’s a shame, because I’d have liked to use the legs to create a Harakoni Warhawks conversion….

The set does come with 17 heads; featuring gasmasks, helmets, berets, etc. These, and the arms, are compatible with the IG range (and you get more than enough of them to fill your bits box!).

Overall, I do like this kit, but it has it’s limitations. It is priced well out of my range for even a 10-man squad (£42!), and building a whole army of Scions (using the Militarum Tempestus codex) would be as expensive as using FW Elysians – and I know which models I would prefer!

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Product review and showcase: Astra Militarum Ogryns/Bullgryns - Savlar Chem Dogs

In today’s post I’m going to review the new GW Ogryn/Bullgryn plastic kit.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Ogryns – although rather in models than rules. The concept of hulking abhumans fighting for the Imperium is an intriguing one, and has been around since 40k Rogue Trader days.

The Orgyn model range has gone through a few versions:

  • ·      Bob Olley’s original Rogue Trader sculpts – I still like these models, and some have stood the test of time well: especially the “shades” Ogryn with ripper gun. The limited range seems to have been a crossover from Warhammer Fantasy Battle, as most of the models were equipped with axes and maces (reflecting the IG army list of the time);

  • ·      Third edition “goofy” Ogryns – including Ogryns with Viking style horned heads, disproportionate limbs etc – better consigned to history… Included an equally crude Nork Deddog sculpt;

  • ·      Fifth edition “Cadian” Ogryns – I have four of these models, and I really liked them. There were four sculpts available, in a variety of poses. These guys were criticised because they looked too much like Cadians (unsurprising considering most Guard armies are Cadian, or at least use the models as a base!), because they were metal, and because they were expensive…

So, as part of the new Astra Militarum range GW has released a plastic 3-figure boxed set.  

First impressions are that the box has two relatively small sprues, and rolls in at around £28.50 (although as ever I’d advise checking out Dark Sphere for a much better price). The box makes several possible models:

·      3 Ogryns with ripper guns, with parts for Bone ‘Ead;

·      3 Bullgryns with slab shields and grenadier gauntlets;

·      3 Bullgryns with shields and power mauls;

·      1 Nork Deddog.

The sculpting on these models is good, but detail is shallower than I’d have liked. They don’t seem  “sharp” like the recent Tempestus Scions, but rather “soft” like the bigger Tyranid creatures released earlier this year. An example is the tattoo detail on some of the Ogryns’ arms and heads: in photos this seems really crisp, but in reality it’s quite difficult to bring this out in the way that the GW pictures show.

I made 3 Bullgryns for my Savlar Chem Dog army…

Overall, I was impressed with the designs. It seems GW have had this “using tank parts as armour” idea in mind for some years: I remember a conversion article years back in which GW canvassed using tank armour as protection for Ogryns, and the Bullgryns are an extension of that idea.

I don’t like the Bone ‘Ead parts at all. These include two moustached heads, which look rather refined – not Ogryn at all! I like the bare head much better. I went with the Goonies “Hey, you guys!!!” head – this got a lot of flak on the forums due to the pose GW put the head in, but once positioned properly and painted up I think it looks good.

The set also includes three “Bane” style gasmask heads. Great for making Savlar or Steel Legion Ogryns.

Here’s a scale picture showing an older Ogryn with the newer one. I actually prefer the poses of the older Ogryns, but I guess the plastic medium prevents this level of dynamism.

You can also see in this photo exactly why GW has chosen to make Ogryns “Very Bulky” (taking up 3 transport slots) – the model is much bigger than a “Bulky” Terminator…

What about the rules? I’m not sure GW will ever get them right! The standard Ogryn has lost Furious Charge, and last edition’s reduction in Leadership makes them a risky assault option with Commissar and/or Priest support. I’d be really wary of launching an assault with Bullgryns, unless they were loaded up with power mauls – in which case your investing 60 points per model… I’m planning on buying another two to create a five model squad of Bullgryns, to shield tanks and artillery.

However, would those points actually be better spent on more tanks? I guess only playtesting will tell!